Tributes paid to former Crowland councillor who died aged 84
Tributes have been paid to a former councillor who has passed away at the age of 84.
William Speechley, known as Jim, is a controversial figure who had served Crowland as a county and parish council for 30 years but was jailed in 2004 for misconduct in a public office.
Mr Speechley died on April 19 surrounded by his family, and a private funeral will be held at Crowland Abbey on May 1.
People who worked with Mr Speechley said he had worked hard for the Crowland community.
Among those paying tribute is Lincolnshire county councillor Eddy Poll, who served as South Holland District Council leader between 1999 and 2003.
He said: “He was an innovative and forward thinking councillor who really cared about his community.
“Despite what happened towards the end of his career, he did some really good things.”
Former chairman of Crowland Parish Council Reg Boot said Mr Speechley had played an important role in creating the Snowdon Field.
He said: “He was a long standing parish and county councillor who did an awful lot of good for Crowland.
“He was instrumental in getting the pavilion for the Snowdon Field and I think he was involved in getting the library.
“In the early days on the council, he persuaded the council to make it a recreational area rather than using it for grazing rights for horses and cattle.
“He was very helpful for the parish of Crowland.”
Nigel West, head of democratic services at the county council, said: “It is with regret that we have been informed of the death of former county councillor William James Speechley.
“Mr Speechley represented the Crowland and Whaplode electoral division from 1973 until 2004.
“He was chairman of the Education Committee from 1985 to 1993 and leader of the council from 1997 to 2002.”
Mr Speechley had been found guilty of misconduct in a public office and was sent to prison for 18 months in 2004.
He was accused of trying to influence the route of the A1073 Spalding to Eye bypass, which is now the A16.
But Sheffield Crown Court had been told the he wanted to increase the value of a 4.21 acre plot of land he owned and that he failed to publicly declare his interest in the route of the road.
Mr Speechley, who was also ordered to pay £25,000 towards costs, was freed in 2005 and had been stripped of his CBE following his conviction.